====NACHEKETAS IN THE HOUSE OF DEATH===== “Om Namo Bhagvavate Vasudevayah” Kathopnishad is one of the main 10 Upnishads. This upnishad tells about the secret of life and death. The Chapter 1 which contains the conversation between Nachiketa a young wise child who wanted to know what happens after death. ------------------------------------------------------------------------- उशन् ह वै वाजश्रवसः सर्ववेदसं ददौ। तस्य ह नचिकेता नाम पुत्र आस ॥ At the end of his life, desiring Heaven, Vajasravasa (Natcheketas’ father), a pious man, sacrificed a few of his least valuable possessions. तं ह कुमारं सन्तं दक्षिणासु नीयमानासु श्रद्धाविवेश। सोऽमन्यत॥ When the gifts (consisting of cows) were being led (to the priests), faith entered him(Natcheketa), who was still a boy; he thought: पीतोदका जग्धतृणा दुग्धदोहा निरीन्द्रियाः अनन्दा नाम ते लोकास्तान् स गच्छति ता ददत् ॥ “These barren cows have yielded all their milk, ate and drunk for the last time. Joyless are the worlds attained by one who offers(give charity) such useless gifts.” (Young Nachiketa when saw his father giving barren cowsgiving as gifts to priests, he though these cows are given all the milk and now useless. How these cows are going to make those priests happy. Why not Father gives something valuable as gift. He knew he is the most valuable for his father and so he asked स होवाच पितरम् – तात कस्मै मां दास्यसि – इति। द्वितीयं तृतीयं। तं होवाच – मृत्यवे त्वा ददामि – इति ॥ He said, “To whom will you give me, father?” At first the father ignored his son but Nacheketas persisted, asking a second and third time, “To whom will you give me, father? To whom will you give me?” “To Death I give you!” said the father in anger. बहूनामेमि प्रथमो बहूनामेमि मध्यमः। किं स्विद्यमस्य कर्तव्यं यन् मयाद्य करिष्यति ॥ Of many I go as the first; of many I go as the middling. What remains for Death (Yama) to be accomplished that to-day through me he will accomplish? अनुपश्य यथा पूर्वे प्रतिपश्य तथा परे। सस्यमिव मर्त्यः पच्यते सस्यमिवाजायते पुनः ॥ See how kernels of corn fall to the ground, decay, and are later reborn.”“I wonder what Death will work through me?” Nacheketas thought as he set out for the house of Death. [Nachiketas went to the abode of Death and he had to wait there for three nights before Death(Yama) returned and could show him hospitality due to a guest] तिस्रो रात्रीर्यदवात्सीत् गृहे मे अनश्नन् ब्रह्मन्नतिथिर्नमस्यः। नमस्तेऽस्तु ब्रह्मन् स्वस्ति मेऽस्तु तस्मात् प्रति त्रीन् वरान् वृणिष्व॥ (Yama said): O Brahman, since thou, a venerable guest, hast stayed in my abode three nights without eating, obeisance to thee, O Brahman; may prosperity be to me. Choose three boons (for the three nights of waiting) [The first two boons chosen by Nachiketas are not of any philosophical importance. The first was that his father’s anger be appeased. The second was that he might know the nature of the Agni (Fire) which led those who performed sacrifices to heaven. Both these boons were readily granted by Death (Yama). And the boy was asked to choose the third boon. येयं प्रेते विचिकित्सा मनुष्ये अस्तीत्येके नायमस्तीति चैके। एतद्विद्यामनुषिष्टस्त्वयाहं वराणामेष वरस्तृतीयः॥ “When a person dies,” Natcheketas said, “does he or she continue to exist?” Some say we exist after death and others that we don’t. Please tell me the what happens.” देवैरत्रापि विचिकित्सितं पुरा न हि सुविज्ञेयमणुरेष धर्मः। अन्यं वरं नचिकेतो वृणीष्व मा मोपरोत्सीरति मा सृजैनम्॥ “On this subject,” Death replied, “even the Gods have their doubts. The self is very subtle and difficult to understand. Don’t press me on this. I’ll give you another boon.” देवैरत्रापि विचिकित्सितं किल त्वं च मृत्यो यन्न सुविज्ञेयमात्थ। वक्ता चास्य त्वादृगन्यो न लभ्यो नान्यो वरस्तुल्य एतस्य कश्चित्॥ “This is the only worthwhile question,” said Nacheketas, “and you’re the only one who knows the answer.” (Yama tried to convince Nachiketa to ask for some other boon he rather given him lot of options from which he could select) शतायुषः पुत्रपौत्रान् वृणीष्व बहून् पशून् हस्तिहिरण्यमश्वान्। भूमेर्महदायतनं वृणीष्व स्वयं च जीव शरदो यावदिच्छसि ॥ Yama said: Choose sons and grandsons who would live a hundred years, many cattle, elephants, gold, and horses. Choose the great sovereignty over earth. And you yourself live as many years as you wish to. एतत्तुल्यं यदि मन्यसे वरं वृणीष्व वित्तं चिरजीविकां च। महाभूमौ नचिकेतस्त्वमेधि कामानां त्वा कामभाजं करोमि ॥ If you consider this as an equal boon, choose wealth and long life. O Nachiketas, prosper on this vast earth. I will make these available to you. (Yama offers Nachiketa further all wealth and luxury he can wish for.) ये ये कामा दुर्लभा मर्त्यलोके सर्वान् कामांश्छ्न्दतः प्रार्थयस्व। इमा रामाः सरथाः सतूर्या न हीदृशा लम्भनीया मनुष्यैः। आभिर्मत्प्रत्ताभिः परिचारयस्व नचिकेतो मरणं मानुप्राक्षीः॥ Whatever desires there are that are difficult to attain in this world of mortals, all those desires you ask ask at your will. Here are lovely maidens, with chariots, with lutes. The likes of them are not to be attained by men. With them bestowed by me, have them all for your disposal. O Nachiketas, but do not ask about death. श्वोभावा मर्त्यस्य यदन्तकैतत् सर्वेन्द्रियाणां जरयन्ति तेजः। अपि सर्वं जीवितमल्पमेव तवैव वाहास्तव नृत्यगीते॥ Nachiketas said: (These may or may not ) last till tomorrow. O Lord, this (which you have offered) wears away the vigour of all the senses of men. Even every kind of life is small indeed. You keep the beautiful women and fast chariots[I don’t want these]. न वित्तेन तर्पणीयो मनुष्यो लप्स्यामहे वित्तमद्राक्ष चेत्त्वा। जीविष्यामो यावदीशिष्यसि त्वम् वरस्तु मे वरणीयः स एव॥ Man cannot be propitiated with wealth. We will get wealth if we meet thee. We will live as long as thou shalt rule. But that alone is the boon which I can choose. अजीर्यताममृतानामुपेत्य जीर्यन् मर्त्यः कधःस्थः प्रजानन्। अभिध्यायन् वर्णरतिप्रमोदा- नतिदीर्घे जिविते को रमेत ॥ Having come to the immortals who never decay, which decaying mortal living on the earth below, (now) knowing, will, thinking on colour, pleasures and enjoyments, delight in the life (that may be) very long?. यस्मिन्निदं विचिकित्सन्ति मृत्यो यत्सांपराये महति ब्रूहि नस्तत्। योऽयं वरो गूढमनुप्रविष्टो नान्यं तस्मान्नचिकेता वृणीते ॥ In respect of which, O Yama, I want to know what people doubt, what happens after death, please tell me that. This boon which penetrates into the hidden, no other than this will Nachiketa chooses. -------------------------------------------------------------- The same story is also found in Mahabharat, people may read the story separately, Here I produce the contents with shlokas and meaning. I'll produce just story in simple language.